The Catholic Church on Monday withdrew restrictions imposed on a nun for participating in protests in Kochi, Kerala, demanding the arrest of rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, PTI reported. The decision to lift the restrictions on her was taken at a meeting of the parish at the St Mary’s Church Karakkamala in Wayanad.

Sister Lucy Kalappura, who returned to her parish in Wayanad on Sunday, was reportedly barred from all church duties, conducting prayers and other activities related to the Syro Malabar catholic church. The nun reportedly violated her congregation’s rules by posting comments against the church on social media, acquired a car on loan and appeared in public without a nun’s habit.

The parish meeting was held after several parishioners came out in her support on Monday. They demanded an explanation from the vicar on why the nun was barred from church activities, The Times of India reported. A group of people then barged into the meeting hall demanding that the restrictions imposed on Sister Lucy Kalappura be revoked.

Following the meeting, Stephen Kottakkal, the vicar of Karakkamala St Mary’s Church, announced that the restrictions have been withdrawn.

Sister Lucy Kalappura said she was happy with the church’s decision. “It is a proud moment in my life as a nun,” she told The Hindu. “It will give courage to the Christian community to protest against any injustice in the church.”

Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 for allegedly raping a nun several times over three years. On Monday, he was sent to judicial custody till October 6.

The case

In June, the police filed charges against Mulakkal after a nun in the Missionaries of Jesus congregation filed a complaint accusing him of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 in Kottayam. The congregation is based in Punjab’s Jalandhar district but it runs two convents in Kerala – one in Kottayam and the other in Kannur. The alleged abuse took place in Kottayam.

Mulakkal has repeatedly denied the charges and accused the nun of taking revenge on him for ordering an inquiry into a complaint against her. He filed a complaint against the complainant and five other nuns, accusing them of framing him. The bishop claimed that there were “several contradictions” in the evidence collected by the police.

The Missionaries of Jesus has said its internal investigation found Mulakkal to be innocent. The organisation has also claimed the complainant was in a relationship with a taxi driver.

The Catholic Church in India comprises Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara churches.